National Geographic : 1957 Apr
Rocket's Fiery Trail Streaks the Night Sky Roaring up from snow-swept plains near Hudson Bay, the Aerobee raced through thin clouds at 5,000 feet, crossed the moon's overcast face, and climbed 157 miles. Here its exhaust trail fades out at 30,000 feet. +Dovap, an electronic system developed by the Army's Ballistic Research Laboratories at Aber deen, Maryland, measures a rocket's position in space. Dovap sends up radio waves that the rocket receives and rebroadcasts back to earth. Changes in the missile's speed produce wave effects that register on screens in ground stations. Here the author (right) fol lows a rocket's flight at Fort Churchill. Harold Zancanata. chief of Dovap operations, tele phones to the launching tower. Below: Oscilloscopes show Doppler frequencies-and hence the velocities-of a rocket in motion. Jagged peaks at top reveal high speed. Rounded humps below indicate a slow-up. - J. D. Simpson Newman Rumstead 576 The rocket began its downward fall, and again the moan became audible. Its pitch rose higher and higher, becoming an eerie shriek which ended only when the monster plunged into Hudson Bay. I breathed a sigh of re lief. Throughout the flight I had experienced a horrible sensation of being in the rocket, and I was glad to have it over. During the flight's seven minutes-pay-off for months of preparation Spencer stood with eyes glued to an instrument that looked like a TV screen. It told him all was well in the rocket-borne laboratory. When the flight was completed, he looked like a man whose wife had just presented him with triplets-pleased, but too awed to smile.